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Research: Comprehensive Sex Ed Programs Again Linked to Decline in Teen Birth Rates

A new study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the implementation of federally funded sex education programs more than a decade ago led to a decline in teen births in counties that adopted the programs. “​​Sex education in the United States has been hotly debated among researchers, policy makers, and the public,” says Nicholas Mark, a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Department of Sociology and the lead author of the paper. ....“Our analysis provides evidence that funding for more comprehensive sex education led to an overall reduction in the teen birth rate at the county level of more than 3 percent.” ...
"Overall in these counties, teen birth rates dropped by 1.5 percent in the first year of TPP [Teenage Pregnancy Prevention] funding, but fell by approximately 7 percent in the fifth year of funding for an average reduction of over 3 percent during the studied period."

This is not the first research on the issue and we have published several pieces on the subject. Studies have uniformly found two things: comprehensive sex-ed programs cut teen pregnancies and the abstinence-only programs favored by conservatives don't.

Illuminate: In her recent article, Dr. Heather Sher sums it up quite well, quoting from a study published by the National Institute of Health:

Dr. Heather Sher: "Research studies show that teaching about contraception is not associated with increased risk of adolescent sexual activity or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as suggested by.... abstinence-only advocates. Teens who received comprehensive sex-ed had a lower risk of pregnancy and STD infection than teens who received abstinence-only or no sex education at all in the U.S. Even more staggering, “the more strongly abstinence is emphasized in state laws and policies, the higher the average teenage pregnancy and birth rate.”

And other studies have demonstrated that if you combine comprehensive sex-ed programs with free birth control you can dramatically reduce teen pregnancies and abortions while saving millions in tax dollars.

Illuminate: "In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014, teens who were educated about birth control and received free long-acting birth control devices were significantly less likely to get pregnant or to get an abortion compared to other sexually active teens. The annual pregnancy rate for teens aged 15 to 19 in the study was 3.4 percent, compared to 15.9 percent for all U.S. teens who are sexually active."

#news #research #culture

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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